The Best and Worst Toothpaste Ingredients
Toothpaste ingredients are those substances that fight tooth decay and reduce the risk of developing gum disease. A variety of auxiliary components give taste and shape its texture.
When choosing a particular toothpaste, we often focus on advertising, recommendations from friends, or simply an attractive design. But how often do we pay attention to the composition written in small print? It must be remembered that for the teeth and gums to be in good condition, it’s important to select suitable hygiene products, avoiding heavy chemicals in toothpaste. Oral care is a daily procedure that requires special attention since not only the appearance but also the condition of the body depends on it.
What is included in the structure of toothpaste and how to distinguish between good and bad ingredients in the composition?
What Ingredients Can Be In Toothpaste?
There is a wide range of kinds of toothpaste on the market today. All of them differ in composition, texture, shape, and even taste sensations. Each person can choose a hygiene product that can meet all the necessary needs. It is because of such a huge variety that we are lost in front of enticing inscriptions and often do not pay attention to the composition. The main thing to remember is that toothpaste should be chosen together with dentists, depending on the condition and characteristics of the teeth. After all, if there are any problems with caries, tooth sensitivity, tartar, or others, then some pastes will contribute to a speedy recovery along with complex treatment, while others can do harm and be contraindicated.
All pastes have a different purpose, they are divided into hygienic, treatment-and-prophylactic and therapeutic. What is the basis of the composition of each paste? The main chemical components are fluorides, enzymes, abrasives, therapeutic, and prophylactic additives, and flavors.
Fluorides are those organic toothpaste ingredients that provide effective enamel protection against caries. They reinforce this and have an antibacterial effect – every dental hygiene product includes these substances in its composition since without them it loses its main protective effect. Abrasives are used for tartar control and removal of food residues. These small, soft particles help the toothbrush cope with a small dirt and hard-to-reach places. The most common abrasives are silica and calcium carbonate.
Some additives are used to improve the properties of toothpaste as an example titanium - a white powdery substance. It has no taste or smell and does not dissolve in water. Titanium dioxide in toothpaste is responsible for the whitening effect of tooth enamel, as well as for the whiteness of the paste itself. In the product itself, its concentration is usually very small to cause any harm to the body. It simply helps to eliminate yellow stains on the teeth from caffeine or nicotine, making the effect of a snow-white smile. Carrageenan in toothpaste is useful for thickening and stabilizing the hygiene product. It’s a natural ingredient derived from red seaweed. In addition, manufacturers use different concentrates and flavoring agents to improve the sensations during oral hygiene.
The Best Toothpaste Ingredients
The choice of any oral hygiene product should be based on specific dental problems. Without a doubt, the paste should make enamel stronger, clean plaque well and maintain oral health. But it’s also important to prevent caries, gum disease, increased tooth sensitivity, dry mouth, bad breath, etc. It’s worth paying attention to products with abrasive substances that can not only clean the teeth but polish their surface. You need to take into account the mutual influence of the constituent components of the paste – sometimes they enhance or, conversely, weaken the properties of each other. The best toothpaste ingredients that have a beneficial effect on oral health generally include:
- Fluorine in toothpaste is an excellent tool for protecting and strengthening enamel, for the prevention of oral diseases. Due to its properties, it does not allow microbes to destroy tooth enamel and protects against caries and inflammation. The main advantage of fluorine is the prevention of decalcification. Nevertheless, it’s important to control the amount of this substance. With excessive use, negative consequences can be observed: deterioration of the condition of hair and nails; intoxication; metabolic disorders, etc.
- Potassium nitrate is a special ingredient in toothpaste that is made to care for sensitive teeth. It stops pain signals from the dental nerve to the brain, so you don't feel any discomfort. Potassium nitrate toothpaste aims to eliminate pain due to increased sensitivity of the nerve inside the teeth.
- Zinc citrate is the most effective and widespread toothpaste ingredient that reduces plaque and prevents formation of tartar. Zinc citrate in toothpaste helps freshen breath by reducing exposure to unpleasant compounds produced by bacteria in the mouth. In addition, the presence of this component reduces the risk of caries.
The Worst Toothpaste Ingredients
Some components of toothpaste do more harm than good. The main sources of oral health problems are pathogenic microorganisms that can cause various diseases. Consider unwanted substances that can be part of dental hygiene product.
One of the worst toothpaste ingredients that is often present in toothpaste formulations is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). It is a well-known foaming agent in toothpaste, which is a petrochemical product that adversely affects the human body, causing allergies. SLS provides a stable, high foam that evenly wraps around the surface of the teeth, which contributes to more effective cleaning. However, such a component causes sensitivity of the gums to allergens and food acids, dries out the oral mucosa, and provokes the development of stomatitis. SLS toothpaste can pose a potential health hazard and should be used with extreme caution.
Propylene glycol in toothpaste is used to improve product shelf life, appearance, and texture. But it is a highly toxic ingredient that thins and weakens enamel, dries out the mouth, and increases the risk of gum disease. Another harmful substances can be called parabens, which are also quite toxic – they can cause allergies, as well as disrupt the function of hormones.
Despite the huge list of kinds of toothpaste and various other oral hygiene products, it’s better to rely on the opinion of an experienced dentist who will help you choose the toothpaste that will suit the patient according to all criteria. You always should remember that when it comes to oral hygiene, it’s necessary to choose a quality, harmless product, such as toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate, to keep our teeth safe and sound for many years to come.